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Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

All Fish and Wildlife

All Fish and Wildlife Habitat Fish and Wildlife Population Degradation Fish and Wildlife Habitat Fish and Wildlife Population Degradation 10. The Niagara River RAP endorses and encourages the process of multisectoral liaison committees as the vehicle to facilitate the satisfactory remediation of water quality in the Niagara River AOC. 11. The NPCA maintain its Geographical Information System (G.I.S) restoration database as a tool in determining priority areas for remediation within the watershed and collaborate with Niagara Water Strategy in G.I.S. information 12. Continue to protect natural habitat on both sides of the Niagara River as one ecosystem and seek opportunities for international cooperation. RAP Coordinator, NPCA, landowners NPCA, Niagara Region RAP Coordinator, NPC, NPCA These categories and implementation partners will form the basis of the new RAP work plan. The work plan provides an important tool for RAP in planning, proposing, and reviewing the merits of the many projects and project ideas it deals with each year. Actions to address the recommendations under each category will be compiled and then implemented by stakeholders and RAP partners. When new remedial projects are proposed or developed under the RAP, the main question is “Will implementing this project lead to improvements in the environment that bring the AOC closer to delisting?” Based on the accomplishments and project implementation undertaken by RAP partners, it is anticipated that all priority actions to restore the AOC can be completed within the next 5 years. In order to meet this goal, the work plan will be developed to identify the actions essential to restoring the AOC. Plans are underway to develop a new implementation framework. The Implementation Committee is comprised of RAP partners and has been established to lead actions identified in the work plan (Appendix 11). The new delisting criteria provide the achievable restoration targets that must be reached to accomplish delisting of the AOC. Through regular work plan reporting and monitoring of environmental conditions, it will be possible to measure progress in attaining the new delisting criteria. This, in turn, will provide evidence that the BUIs are being restored and justify the RAP process moving towards Stage 3 (i.e., delisting the AOC). Based on the accomplishments and project implementation undertaken by agencies and RAP partners, it is anticipated that all priority actions to restore the AOC can be completed by 2015. A work plan is currently under development to prioritize which actions are essential to restoring the AOC. The work plan includes an Eutrophication and Water Quality Assessment project for the Welland River that was initiated in 2007. The purpose of the project is to facilitate the development of delisting criteria for nutrients (i.e., phosphorus and nitrogen) in the Welland River watershed. When delisting criteria have been identified, then the appropriate monitoring plan may be developed and implemented. 76

Niagara river remedial action plan stage 2 update 5.0 Measuring Progress: The RAP Monitoring Plan In order to assess progress in the recovery of the ecosystem from environmental degradation, and in response to remediation, monitoring and assessment programs are required. Through these programs*, many of which are ongoing, data is gathered which can be used to answer the questions “has the environment recovered to the point that remediation is no longer required?” and “if not, how much recovery has occurred, if any?” In order to answer these questions, RAP monitoring and assessment data are compared against delisting criteria. When all delisting criteria are met, the AOC can be delisted. Therefore, it is important that monitoring and assessment programs are designed to measure the same things on which delisting criteria are based. Monitoring and assessment recommendations were made by technical reviewers as part of the delisting criteria review. Their recommendations have provided the basis for the development of a Niagara River RAP monitoring plan. 114 The purpose of the plan is to coordinate monitoring amongst the various agencies that carry it out, and identify priorities and needs for monitoring where programs are not already in place. Essentially, items under the Niagara RAP monitoring plan have been “bundled” into a number of projects. These projects are: }} Sport fish contaminants monitoring }} Wildlife monitoring }} Welland River fisheries assessment } } }} Fish and wildlife habitat assessment } } Eutrophication and water quality assessment } Lyons Creek East sediment recovery monitoring } Niagara River Toxics Management Plan A summary of the Niagara River RAP monitoring plan is presented in Table 22 (next page). For each of the projects, suggested implementation leads are identified along with the BUI(s) being addressed. Specific tasks for each project are outlined, and regular reporting to show progress towards delisting will be a key component. Projects will be carried out to assess the BUI status of those BUIs that require further assessment, i.e., Phytoplankton & Zooplankton Populations. * Note that monitoring toxics is undertaken through the Niagara River Toxics Management Plan. 114 Niagara RAP Monitoring Plan – Project Plans/Tasks, Implementation Partners and Priority. Draft document prepared by Scott Mackay, Environment Canada on January 22, 2007. 77

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